Marathon Prep – Party Builds

As I sit in Casa de Zombie, enjoying “Daddy-Ginger Date Night™” (official title of the night each week my wife is in Milwaukee and the puppy and I have a night of dinner and television together), I am left considering the upcoming Marathon Tables for our Extra Life event. Partially due to scheduling conflicts that I have little ability to mitigate and have to rely on others, and partially because of the posts the players are commenting on in the Meetup.

We are currently sitting at 20 players as of this writing. I have opened up a third table, and have offered a fourth, if more people sign in to the waitlist (event is capped at 21 currently). Some of them are posting their plans on characters, with many of them stating, “I am bringing a bunch of different options.” The first cut will be who will be sitting with who – keeping in mind that I am going to be randomly placing people on tables.

As for the second cut of options (that each party will have time to discuss prior to the event, should they wish), below are a list of my suggestions. In order of importance based solely on my opinions…

Cleric (Healer)

I originally thought about putting Healer as the header, but I amended to Cleric in light of most druids and bards (not to mention paladins and rangers) aren’t really healers. They are mostly front line or air support, and don’t focus on healing. The Death Curse is here and is totally a thing, so don’t discount healing and the spare the dying cantrip. Most people have gotten too comfortable rolling the bones on the death saves.

Tank (Fighter/Paladin/Barbarian)

Every party needs at least one. And it is up to the tank’s player to decide the style. You are either tanking by armor (fighter or paladin in heavy armor with a ton of extra water for the fatigue) or tanking through hit points (bear totem barbarian and their resistance to all but psychic damage). These are your characters that will help to protect the squishy ones that every party needs.

Arcane Support (Wizard/Sorcerer)

Yes, I didn’t include warlock in this mix. I came really close to not including sorcerer too. Typically those two classes get their magic by nature of their bloodline or their mentors. So they aren’t as learned in the arcane arts. Bards almost fit this bill better than sorcerers – even if they are only getting their Jack of All Trades on arcana checks. Detect Magic and Identify are invaluable spells over the course of a “one shot campaign” like this. It will minimize your need to return to town. And my need to hand wave the magic items found during your adventures.

Speed and travel spells are also huge. Though I am a huge supporter of the haste spell, I am talking more along the lines of Fly, Teleport, and Teleportation Circle. Speed is of the essence in this campaign, so anything that aids in that is a plus.

Rogue (Trap-Finder)

Yeah, you may want to be that killer assassin, but keep in mind the group really should have a rogue that is focused on trap-finding. And there’s nothing saying you can’t be both. Your dexterity will already be high, so maybe focus your expertise in things like thieves tools, investigation and perception. Stealth will be fine all on its own with just your dexterity modifier if you have to.

Everything Else

While the Rogue and Arcane Support are the two things you could potentially do without, or take in a back-up capacity (like a monk with a criminal background), as long as you have a Cleric and a Tank, play what you want to play. Just know that the choices you make when you sit down at the table will alter the game I (or the other DMs) will be producing for you over those next 24 hours.

Rule 32 – Enjoy the Little Things

Whatever choice you make, know that this is a game and we are raising money for an awesome charity that helps support the needs to sick children all over the country. So have fun with it.


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